Situated within the Mad River Valley between the Green Mountains to the west and the Northfield Mountains to the east, both Waitsfield and Warren are worth a closer look as you barrel down Route 100 or across Route 17 on your way to your next outdoor adventure. Indeed, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen ski resorts serve as the main draw in the region, however, these two towns boast hotels, restaurants, casual eateries and shops that are definitely worth the trip.
Before you hole yourself up at one of the area’s inviting places of lodging and dining, drive, pedal or walk over the Waitsfield Bridge. Built in 1833, this covered bridge offers a picture postcard impression of the rustic beauty of Vermont; its simplicity and charm set the tone for the rest that you’ll experience within the Mad River Valley.
For casual good eats, go to American Flatbread in Waitsfield, a favorite among the locals, which is always a good sign, especially in a ski town. Looking for a good cup of coffee? Go to Three Mountain Café, also in Waitsfield, where you can even grab a sandwich–for breakfast or lunch–to accompany it. And don’t let the name throw you at Mix Cupcakerie & Kitchen, everything here is made from scratch and it’s buttercream good.
For a more elevated experience, reserve a room or a table at The Inn at the Round Barn Farm. This fine establishment gives the term Vermont country inn new meaning. Arguably a destination inn, you might want to organize a stay here and plan to spend most of your time within the cosseted interior of this distinguished property. No sense spending the whole day out on the slopes or hiking in the hills when you can delight in these elegant surroundings.
Speaking of grand, The Pitcher Inn in Warren also stands out as an inn and restaurant of especially fine standing. It comes as no surprise that this Relais & Châteaux reigns supreme as a romantic getaway. And if you like dining by the water, you’ll love the river wild setting of their dining room at 275 Main. Best to reserve your special table well in advance.
Over in Sugarbush, Chez Henri, zee French Bistrot, is a must. Located in the heart of Sugarbush Village, this 52-year-old institution ranks as one of the best loved restaurants in the region. Mais bien sur!
Try Timbers Restaurant, also in Sugarbush. Farm to table cuisine has gained in popularity in recent years and here it feels particularly authentic within an interior modeled after a nineteenth-century dairy barn. Now that’s Vermont.